Increase in reporting of sex crimes

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A NEW specialist sex crimes unit has seen a surge in reported offences in West Suffolk, well above the county increase.

Figures for April to December 2010, released last Thursday, show 430 sex crimes were reported in the county, against 425 for the same time last year, an increase of 1.2 per cent. But in West Suffolk 172 crimes were reported, which was a 16.2 per cent increase over the 148 reported in 2009.

Acting Chief Inspector Chris Galley, of Bury St Edmunds police, said some of the rises recorded for all crimes were down to an increased confidence in reporting them.

“That’s especially so with sexual offences,” he said. “We’ve had a number of historical sexual offences reported this year which happened in previous years.”

He said the specialist unit concentrating expertise in sex crimes had increased overall confidence of victims.

In car crime, West Suffolk showed a significant decrease compared to the whole county. The West Suffolk figure of 1,185 was 4.5 per cent down on last year when the county saw a 4.9 per cent increase with reported crimes up from 2,803 to 2,941.

Chief Insp Galley said: “We have a very good partnership at work in that area. The Safer Neighbourhood Teams are good at dealing with that sort of impact.”

Suffolk now has the second-lowest rate of anti-social behaviour in the country following a nine per cent reduction (over 3,000 incidents), with an eight per cent reduction in criminal damage also showing an improvement.

The county had a 20.7 per cent increase in robbery, while West Suffolk was 26.7 per cent up, but the percentage is deceptive because the figures are so low, with only 57 crimes reported in West Suffolk between April and December 2010.

Insp Galley said: “The percentage looks higher but it relates to only 12 cases, though that’s 12 extra victims we wouldn’t want. I wonder if some of the things around property crime can be attributed to the economic climate.”